Archive for January 2010

Too Late for New Year?

Posted on Sunday 10th January 2010 at 00:00
Like most bloggers, I like to finish off my year with a summing up of the 12 months gone/this is what I've got coming up in the year ahead post, but for various reasons I've not had time so far this January. The principle being that blogging, for me at least, is an incredibly antisocial activity. I like to have as few distractions as possible when I'm writing, as other things going on tend to break my concentration, and for this reason I can't blog in front of the TV or whilst L requires my attention, undivided or otherwise.

So, here we are, January the 10th and no updates so far this year, (Remember the days when I wrote daily?) and I find myself enjoying a Sunday afternoon with not too much on. The roast chicken is cooking and in a minute I'll be off to eat it, L is sorting out her university paper work and BBC Radio Devon is playing quietly in the background...

...Ok so that is lunch out of the way. The slippers are on and I'm back to relaxing on the sofa with my laptop and a rather full tummy! Time to get this post under way I think. Among my friends, the most popular way to round up the year past seems to be to list the highlights from each month, so that is what I shall now do.

2009, the Summary


I ring in the New Year with L and her group of school friends, known to all as the Tramps. It is the first of their social occasions that I have attended, but it certainly isn't to be the last.

7 days into the new year I take my first sick day in nearly 11 years in order to have my right toenail surgically removed. It has been ingrowing for over 6 months by this point and my initial relief at having it removed (and a good deal of local anaesthetic) results in my walking out of the building without the need of any help from L, who proceeds to nurse me back to health over the following days and weeks.


Still limping around from the foot, I find myself snowed under, both literally - 2 snows days as the whole South West (except Plymouth) become buried in the white stuff - and metaphorically, as coursework deadline after coursework deadline come upon me. Amazingly, I get everything in on time.

One of the Tramps asks me to appear in a music video he is shooting, the result of which is several days spent filming around Bristol.


The coursework finally comes to an end for the last time in my degree, and L and I celebrate with a weekend city break to Brussels. We take the Eurostar and have a fantastic (and surprisingly sunny) two days looking around the heart of Europe. The only dampener is a stomach bug that kicks in just hours after I return, leaving me in bed for the next 24 hours.

A job offer from Data2Impact Ltd sees me leaving my job in the bar after two and a half years of punishing service. The new job - as an office assistant - is in Andover, a commute of 180 miles a day, five days a week.


L turns 20 and we celebrate with a trip to Bristol Zoo with the Tramps during the Easter Holidays. She remains in Bristol for the rest of Easter before returning to Plymouth in order to begin her teaching placement in Torquay

I attend the funeral of my late Uncle, Robert Austin in Kent. Having travelled all the way from Yateley to Kent and back, I then set off immediately to Bristol to meet L from a day trip to London.


L finishes her teaching practice and likewise her second year on university and returns to Bristol for the summer. Before she goes we spend a windy bank holiday Monday attempting to have a Barbecue on the beach in Exmouth. I burn my fingers badly on hot sand and everything we eat has a suspiciously crunchy texture, but otherwise we judge the day to be a complete success.

I take my final exams, thus concluding the degree I started in September 2004.


We hold a far more successful barbecue for the Tramps in L's Mum's back garden. The turn out is fantastic and I can hardly keep up with the demand for delicious food.

I turn 23 and celebrate with my parents as L is away in Prague. She and I go out for a very nice meal in Kingswood upon her return.


My working life takes me to Guildford for a couple of weeks where I find myself helping to set up and run Lean courses for some clients in the town. About this time I receive word that I've passed my degree and achieved Third Class Honours.

L and I celebrate our first anniversary with a trip to Edinburgh for the weekend. The rain isn't nearly as severe as we had feared and we both fall in love with the city and everything it has to offer. The highlight for me is a visit to Royal Yacht Britannia.


I'm offered a one year extension on my contract but am forced to decline having taken the decision to move to Plymouth and live with L. We spend a day in the city house hunting, and after some ups and downs we find a wonderful flat that meets every single one of our requirements.

We holiday in a Devon cottage for a week with the Tramps. The weather is typically August, but we have a wonderful time seeing the sights and spending time together. I spot TV's James May at Barnstaple Railway Station and we visit the Big Sheep in Bideford.


I leave Data2Impact. We part on good terms but I am disappointed that they were unable to offer me remote working opportunities - an unusual problem in an IT company.

L and I hire a van and gradually move all our stuff 128 miles down the road to Plymouth. It takes over a week to get everything down, and by the end of it we still have a car load of odds and ends being stored in L's Mum's house.


I begin searching in vein for a job. As the weeks roll by my expectations begin to slip from "a job in IT" to "anything I can get paid for, no matter what the salary".

L starts back at university, and life begins to fall into the normal patterns of living together. Finances are tight and life is like the final round of Monopoly, when every roll of the dice becomes an exercise in survival.


L begins her third year teaching placement and is fortunate enough to end up at a school in Plymouth. I find myself filling my days with job hunting and my evenings helping L prepare for her lessons.

I am finally offered a temping position at Plymouth City Council, courtesy of Pertemps. The salary is the lowest I've been on for many years and the work is far less involved than in my previous job, but after 2 months of unemployment it is heaven. I take an afternoon off to attend my graduation ceremony at Bristol Cathedral.


L and I turn our little flat Christmasy. Everything is on a tight budget, but that doesn't sop us enjoying ourselves. We spend the day itself with our individual families and then enjoy the rest of the break in Yateley and Bristol respectively.

New Year's Eve finds us once again at a Trampy party. We toast to a good 2009 over and done.

And now it is 2010...

... and we are back in Plymouth and back to the routine. L starts her Spring term on Monday and I am a week into work again. It is hard to know what the next 12 months will hold, especially given the number of unexpected occurrences in 2009. I hope to find a better job and a much better salary, now that the recession is ending. What else will happen is pretty much dependant on that, as all my plans involve money. I'm hoping we'll be able to go away somewhere during the summer and spend our weekends exploring the city and county that we now call home.

I want to find more time to be involved with this blog and the other online aspects of my life, and maybe for the first time in years this will be possible at last.

Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to a great year ahead.

Happy 2010 Everyone!

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